September - October 2002 and March - April 2003
Tahiti has long been regarded as the heart of French Polynesia and when a sailor arrives here he is truly in the South seas. From Captain Cook in the 1700's to James Michener and the GI's during World War II Tahiti has been many males fantasy image of paradise. The early logs often said something like ... so we put in to Tahiti to take on water and "refresh" the men. While none of the Polynesian beauties offered to "refresh" Rob, they are still here and are as alluring as ever. With waist length dark hair and a mesmerizing ability to roll their hips every movement is suggestive.
For two hundred years boats arriving here have tied to the wharf in the center of Papeete and their crews have sat back on deck to watch the comings and goings of this busy hub in mid Pacific. Generations of sailors have immortalized their arrival here by taking part in the Polynesian art and ritual of tattooing. We declined agreeing with Jimmy Buffett that a tattoo is "a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling."
Today Papeete is a totally modern city with everything from traffic jams to McDonalds so we opted to find a bit quieter anchorage around the corner past the airport. However before we could proceed there we had to call the control tower and make sure no 747's were taking off as our mast height could present a problem for them as we passed within feet of the end of the runway.
In the anchorage at Maeva beach we were able to reconnect with many old friends we had not seen since the Caribbean or Panama. It was here Dee and I celebrated our 20th anniversary and we were in good company as it seems 90% of the visitors to Tahiti are honeymooners.
From Maeva Beach we could easily catch "le truck" the small local transports to town where we could stock up on groceries, hardware or those specialty boat items needed to replace whatever had broken in the 4,000 miles we had sailed since Panama. Touring the island we found that once out of the city much of old Polynesia was intact. The women still dress in colorful pareaus and put flowers in their hair and behind their ears. They are quick to smile and very friendly towards strangers.
Traditional outrigger canoes are everywhere and instead of hitting the health club after work the Tahitians paddle. Each evening we would sit in the cockpit and watch groups of men or women in 6 man racing canoes practice their technique. The image we will always take with us from here could have occurred yesterday or 1,000 years ago. It is watching a canoe filled with 6 strong women, hair to their waists straining against the paddles and silhouetted against the dramatic crimson sky with the towering peaks of Moorea 10 miles away as a back drop.
To enlarge any photo click on it then click on the back button to return here.
Webmaster- Rob Dubin © copyright 2003 Rob Dubin Page Last updated 10/27/2003